Franchises don’t come in a one-size-fits-all model. The same applies to franchisees, the people who run these businesses. Some people fit well in the franchisee role – others, not so much. You should have a particular set of characteristics if you want to be a successful franchisee. You may survive without them, but the process will be painful.

Before diving into the role or a franchisee, vet yourself to make sure you’re the right fit for this business model. Contemplate the following questions to see if you’re cut out for the franchise life.

Do I want to use an existing system and follow established standards?

If you’re a “my way or the highway” type of person, franchising isn’t for you. Franchisees operate by the playbook of the franchisor. The company gives new franchise partners its own proven business model so they have a foundation to work from. There’s a plan in place, and it’s up to the franchisee to execute it. It’s like being a business owner with a head start.

The franchisor won’t micromanage you, but you have to play by the rules. Franchisees are still welcome to come up with new ideas, but the core of the business is set in stone. The company has gone through a lot of trial and error to solidify the existing model and ensure a consistent experience across all franchise locations.

Do I want to work with a team of experienced people who’ll guide me along the way?

Some people work better alone, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Others work better in a team setting. Franchisees succeed because they work collectively with their franchisor, other franchisees and team members. This teamwork helps to clear hurdles and view problems from different perspectives.

In a franchisee role, you’ll constantly be communicating and collaborating with others. You’re not a one-man band – you’re playing in a symphony. It’s how you will learn and grow the business.

You’ll work with and talk to the franchisor frequently. Through this constant communication, you create trust and accountability. This two-way conversation lets you reach out when you need help or want new ideas for growing the franchise. Your connection to your franchisor is crucial to your success.

You’re also part of a network of franchisees. Everyone is on a mission to expand the business to new areas. You’ll have a lot in common with these people, so there’s a lot to learn from them. You can connect with fellow franchisees through one-on-one calls, regional meetings and annual events. The camaraderie you share instills a sense of responsibility to the brand and motivates everyone to do their part to grow the business.

Do I want to join an established franchise or an emerging franchise?

Before choosing a company, determine which type of franchise is right for you. Are you looking for a safer bet with an established franchise model? Or are you seeking more flexibility and growth with an emerging franchise?

The following descriptions are great starting points in your search. As you’re looking for a company, also consider personal factors like initial investment cost, territory available and franchisor requirements.

  • Established franchises: The company lays out almost everything in advance. People view established franchises as less risky because these businesses have a lot of time and experience in the market.
  • Emerging franchises: The company is still in the early stages of its franchise model. You have more of a say in shaping this kind of franchise. They’re more adaptable to emerging market trends and have more room to grow.

Am I prepared and experienced in all aspects of running a business?

You play more roles than just business owner when you join a franchise. Franchising is an active role that requires more than delegating – you work every part of the business every day. One moment you might be crunching numbers in accounting; the next moment, you’re launching a new marketing campaign. You’re not confined by a certain set of job responsibilities – but this makes every day different.

Franchisees have to step outside of their comfort zones to do this. Just like any small business owner, they need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Do I support the franchisor’s mission and values?

It’s crucial to be fully aligned with the franchisor’s business model before you join, and you should also support the company’s mission and values. You won’t be able to instill the spirit of the brand in your employees or customers if you don’t believe in it.

Nothing drives an employee’s passion like something bigger than his or her role. This comes in the form of a brand story, which embodies the mission, core values and vision of a company. When employees share these elements, they’re more motivated and engaged because they’re working to achieve a larger vision. After all, mission-driven employees are 30% more likely to grow into high performers than employees who are motivated by just a paycheck.

It’s not only employees who crave a thoughtful mission and strong values – customers want in on it too. These are now more important than a product or service, and if you don’t support them, you can’t share them with your customers. The most successful franchisees embody the brand in mind and in action. They are part of something bigger, and that motivates them every day.

Don’t jump in without looking.

You’d be foolish to jump off the diving board if you didn’t check to see what was below first. The same goes for becoming a franchisee. Even though it’s exciting to join an established business, make sure the franchise model is the right one for you.

You can’t make the wrong puzzle piece fit in another’s place – it changes the final image. The same goes for joining a franchise. Don’t try to fit into something that wasn’t meant for you.